Why is Personal Branding important?
This is a question that I have been asked many times in my marketing classes. Before Branding was just for businesses and public figures, but people are starting to realize that in order to be taken seriously in the corporate world one must have a brand.
A brand tells the world who you are what you do. The brand included your image, your work and your reputation. All of these things most be in sync to have a successful brand. Your brand should have a print and digital component to it and they should have a consistent flare. People should know your brand like they know McDonald's for the golden arches.
So where do you start? You should start with your Logo. This is a picture that will be on everything print and digital that will represent you professionally. If you plan to have different businesses I would recommend having a main logo for you and then separate logos for the businesses. Make sure that the pictures that you use are professional and the graphics are high resolution. Make the sacrifice for quality when it comes to your brand because when people think of you they should think quality. Remember you are what you put out to the world.
Next, would be the website. You should have one main website where all of the pieces come together. For example: I have several interests that make up my brand so I developed aikynafinch.com as my hub website and I have a section on the website that builds my brand. This way people can see the entire brand or they can explore the parts that interests them. Adding an introduction video to the website will be a great touch as well as a complete biography and resume/CV. This will give the audience a glimpse of you without overwhelming them. Keep it simple, do not make is hard for your audience to find and do business with you. The goal is to keep them wanting more but if the first experience is a difficult one that may be the only one the audience will have with you.
Then, comes the social media. Pick social media that is beneficial to your brand and something that you can complete and maintain. If you are not 100% with your own profile why would your audience think you will be 100% with the product or service you produce for them, this includes employers. Make sure that you at least have a presence on the big three: LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn shows your professional side. Items like your resume, work and education would be highlighted here as well as networking in your ares of interest in the group section or start one of your own. Invite your audience to add recommendations to your profile as these help to build your reputation professionally. Facebook shows that you are well rounded. Articles, pictures and postings will show the audience that you are a person. This is the site that people will explore if they want to build a relationship with you. Give the audience the ability to post to the Facebook fan page as word of mouth goes a long way. Remember to reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts from the page. Twitter shows your sharing side. Because there are only 140 characters you will post your tips, article links, picture links and other posts that will help your audience learn what is going on in the area of interest. Once you have mastered the big three then you can branch your social media presence further.
Finally, comes the print items. While most of your correspondence will be digital there will come a time when you need to send a signed estimate, recommendation letter or thank you note and you will want these things to reflect your brand as well. Items like business cards, stationery and letterhead are important for the professional touch. Remember to make the same sacrifice for quality as you did for your digital materials.
These are just some of the basics. Next you can focus on your Brand Presentation(s) and your blogs. Remember to keep the brand up to date. Let the audience know about the changes and developments to the brand as the people need to know what you do and do not offer at all times. The ultimate goal of the brand is for you to be seen in the most professional light possible through your image, your work and your reputation.